Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Workers Party

Over Tito’s Dead Body Imperialists Scheme to Attack Non-Aligned Movement, Yugoslavian People

Tito – Loyal Nationalist But Renegade to Communism

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 5, No. 17, May 19, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Josip Broz Tito – ruler of Yugoslavia who lived like the monarchs of old, father of modern revisionism and founder of the non-aligned movement–finally bit the dust on May 4, three days short of his 88th birthday. Both superpowers hypocritically praised this renegade from communism. Carter cried crocodile tears over the passing of this “towering figure on the world stage,” while Soviet chief Brezhnev mourned Tito as the “champion of peace, detente, and peaceful coexistence.”

Heads of state flew in from all corners of the world to pay “homage” to Tito. Billed as the last of the major World War II leaders (Mao, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill), Tito’s death is actually mourned by none of the bigshots who attended the funeral. And to the best of their tradition, they used the burial service to practice their statescraft by intriguing and conspiring against the people of Yugoslavia and the world. Thatcher of Britain met with Schmidt of West Germany. Hua Kuo-feng of China huddled with Ohira of Japan. Gandhi of India conferred with Brezhnev, and Zia of Pakistan met with Gandhi. As inevitable as Tito’s death was, Yugoslavia and the non-aligned movement will face heavy pressure from the imperialists headed by the two superpowers, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Who was this Tito whom the imperialists and revisionists all pretended to like?

Tito: Anti-Fascist Leader, Father of His Country

Born the son of a Croatian peasant in 1892, Tito became a metalworker in the Croatian capital of Zagreb. In World War I he was captured by the Czar’s troops and sent to Russia as a prisoner. There he participated in the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin and Stalin and joined the Red Guards. Returning home to Zagreb, he joined the Communist Party and organized and led a metalworkers’ strike. In 1934 he made his way to Moscow to work in the Comintern (the Third Communist International, an organization of communist parties and revolutionary organizations from around the world) as the Yugoslav specialist in the Balkan Secretariat. Tito returned to his homeland in 1937 as Secretary General of the outlawed Communist Party of Yugoslavia, building an underground party of 12,000 members-strong.

When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Tito led his Partisans in a fierce guerrilla war against the Nazi occupiers and local fascists. With no outside help, medical supplies, few weapons and little food, the heroic Partisans doggedly fought on. Because Tito’s group was the only one actively fighting the fascists and able to unite all nationalities in the struggle, they won the respect of the people of the world. Tito and the Communist Party helped to break the Nazi might, and after Germany was defeated in 1945 they were able to take state power.

The Yugoslavian Communist Party was the only one among the Eastern European communist parties which was able to free their country from the yoke of fascist rule without the help of the Soviet Red Army.

Post-war Yugoslavia brought new, bigger challenges than the anti-fascist fight. The country had to be rebuilt from the devastation of the war. Eleven percent of the population, mainly males in their early 20’s, had sacrificed their lives for liberation. In Eastern Europe, only Poland had lost more men. One out of every four Yugoslavians were homeless. Not a single railroad was in running order in the whole country. Even the stocks to rebuild the railroads had been destroyed by the retreating Nazis. Production in agriculture, food processing, textile, the metal industries were all less than half the pre-war levels. Whole forests had been laid waste and the mines were either stripped or flooded by the fascists.

Tito: Renegade From Marxism, Squanderer of Yugoslav Economic Independence

The Soviet Union and other newly-born socialist countries like Yugoslavia formed the socialist camp and helped one another to rebuild their war-ravaged countries. Differences between Tito and the recently formed Cominform (Communist Information, which grew out of the Comintern) under Stalin’s leadership developed. Yugoslavia was unique among Eastern European countries in the sense that the Yugoslavian Communist Party was the only one with strong grassroots support in the fight against fascism. Tito bragged about the “uniqueness” of Yugoslavia’s development and used this as an excuse to abandon communism. Finally Stalin pushed that these differences be aired before the Cominform and resolved by the socialist countries. When Tito refused and boycotted the meeting, the Cominform expelled Yugoslavia in 1948. Tito retaliated by expelling Yugoslavian party members who were loyal to the Cominform and Stalin. Stalin reacted in turn by cutting off all economic aid to Yugoslavia.

It was correct for Tito to raise that he had differences with the Cominform and Stalin and maintain that Yugoslavia must decide its own way forward. Stalin, despite the overall correctness of his leadership, did make some mistakes, and there were revisionists like Bukharin in the leadership of the Comintern and later the Cominform. For example, Stalin had an incorrect line on the course of the Chinese revolution. Stalin himself advocated the profound truth that in the era of imperialism, anyone who fights imperialism, regardless of ideology – even the despotic Emir of Afghanistan – is playing an objectively revolutionary role. But in the case of Tito and Yugoslavia, Stalin was blinded to the wisdom of his own line by metaphysics.

Therefore regardless of the ideological differences and despite the fact that Tito proved himself to be an arch renegade from communism, it was wrong for Stalin to cut off economic aid to Yugoslavia. This shortsighted action only created conditions for Yugoslavia to get caught in the clutches of the Western imperialists, especially the U.S. While it was correct for Tito to raise differences and maintain Yugoslavia’s right to decide her own course, his line was revisionist nonetheless. For instead of taking the road of economic self-reliance and self-sufficiency which Mao correctly applied in China, Tito took the line of least resistance and sold out Yugoslavia to the imperialists.

The imperialists pumped massive amounts of aid into the country like a dope dealer pumps heroin into a junkie. In August 1949, the U.S. sold Yugoslavia a complete steel finishing mill for $3 million, in stark contrast to the U.S. economic blockade against socialist China. A month later, the Export-Import Bank, dominated by the U.S., gave a $20 million loan. In 1950, Truman approved $16 million in drought relief and by the end of that year, an additional $50 million was approved by Congress under the Yugoslav Emergency Relief Act. In all, over $1 billion poured into Yugoslavia to “keep Yugoslavia independent.”

The Father of Modern Revisionism

Relying on the imperialists instead of the Yugoslavian people, Tito justified theoretically the stripping of the country’s economic independence and its degeneration into a neo-colony of the imperialists, especially the U.S., every step of the way. In 1950, Tito denounced state ownership as “state capitalism,” rejecting the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat and announced “worker’s self-management” as the correct road forward.

“Worker’s self-management” was set up in the factories, and state farms became private farms. While workers are supposed to control the factories by making decisions on production, circulation and even sharing of profits, in reality a small group of managers, technicians and bureaucrats in essence own them, reap the fruit of the production. The whole country is run in the interest of a privileged strata.

And even if within each factory there is democracy for the workers, totally rational division of labor, and even if workers get an equal share of profits, it is still capitalism. Why? Because without overall state planning with the needs and long’ term interest of the people of Yugoslavia and the world in mind, the law of value takes command. The law of value is the economic law of commodity production, circulation and exchange. The value of a commodity is determined by the amount of socially necessary labor time required to produce that commodity (in other words, the amount of labor time required given the existing normal state of production and the average amount of skill and intensity prevailing at the time). The law of value states that commodities must be exchanged according to their values, the values being exchanged must be the same.

One of the functions of the law of value is to regulate production. Under socialism there is overall economic planning to make sure that the needs and long-term interests of the masses are insured. But not everything can be planned. To that extent the law of value has a function to regulate some production even under socialism. But if the law of value is not restricted, if it is allowed to run wild, as it is under capitalism–then what and how much is produced will be determined entirely by how much profit can be made and not by the people’s needs or what’s in their best interest. For example, because producing machines and tools doesn’t bring as much profit as the tourist industry, with the law of value in command the machine and tool industry is neglected and the tourist industry flourishes. It’s “easier” and cheaper for a country to buy or lease machines from the imperialists. This is the way, over a period of time, that the imperialists get a stranglehold over the economy. This is what leads Yugoslavia to a situation where it produces clothing but agriculture remains stunted, where the country is stripped of its independent economic infrastructure and becomes a welfare state dependent on the imperialists.

In 1978-79, Yugoslavia’s import of corn jumped from 100,000 metric tons to 1.2 million metric tons. Wheat imports jumped from 200,000 tons to 1 million tons in 1979-80. Imports of red meat leaped from 35,000 tons in 1977 to 51,000 tons in 1978. Most of its natural gas came mostly from the Soviet Union.

At the mercy of the finance capitalists, Yugoslavia’s independent foreign policy has to be compromised. For example, Yugoslavia supported the U.S. imperialist war of aggression in Korea in the 50’s.

By the 1958 Party Congress in Ljubljana, a complete, fullblown revisionist system was established and adopted into the Party’s program. The dictatorship of the proletariat was renounced and the need for a vanguard Party tossed out. Instead it was replaced with the bankrupt revisionist view of the gradual evolution of capitalism into socialism and that a new era of “peaceful coexistence” with capitalism had dawned.

When the law of value is not restricted another function of the law of value takes effect-the polarization of the people. In other words, classes and thus class exploitation develops. For example, if the differences between managers and technicians and ordinary workers is not narrowed over a period of time, privileged stratas will develop and a new capitalist class will be born.

Every revisionist since then has embraced these same arguments, from Krushchev to Brezhnev to Hua Kuo-feng and Teng Xiao-ping, making Tito truly the father of modern revisionism.

What is the effect of these revisionist policies on the Yugoslavian people? The country is a neo-colony no different from Hong Kong or the Philippines, dependent in the main on the western imperialists. Dow Chemical, GM and other monopoly capitalist corporations dot the country. With profit in command, workers are laid off or fired at whim. Joblessness is such a big problem that Yugoslavians must endure the indignity and hardship of trying to find work in Western European countries. Differences in the living standards of poorer national minorities compared to other Yugoslavians grows daily. For example, the average income in Kosovo, one of the poorest regions is $315 per year, less than half the $840 per year average in Slovenia. Food shortages are common. With the world-wide economic crisis facing the imperialists, they are dumping their crisis on Yugoslavia. Inflation hit 30% in 1979 and will pass that this year. The country’s debt has mushroomed to $13 billion. More than one million workers laid off in Western Europe have returned home, further swelling the official 12% joblessness rate.

Yugoslavia Pursues Policy of Non-Alignment

In all fairness, being a staunch bourgeois nationalist, Tito did in his own way resist imperialism feebly here or there. For example, while Tito welcomed U.S. imperialist aid, he refused to allow Yugoslavia to join NATO, saying that “there is no room for us in a bloc which has an anti-socialist tendency”. At the same time, he denounced the Warsaw Pact. When Stalin died and capitalism was restored in the Soviet Union, Krushchev came to Yugoslavia in 1956 to reverse correct verdicts, publicly apologizing for the break in 1948. But Tito refused to be wooed. Instead, he sought aid from both sides, playing one off the other while carefully treading a thin line between the two superpowers. Tito developed a policy of non-alignment, of staying away from any sort of military blocs so Yugoslavia could “peacefully coexist” with both U.S. imperialism and Soviet hegemonism.

Throughout the 1950’s, Tito traveled all over the third world to preach his policy of non-alignment. The crucial difference between Yugoslavia and the third world is that, while third world countries have gained formal political independence, they have never had economic independence. On the other hand, Yugoslavia had both after World War II, but Tito gave up economic independence to the U.S. imperialists – all to prove the “creativity” of his “Yugoslavian road”.

In 1961, Tito, along with Nasser of Egypt, Nehru of India and Sukarno of Indonesia formally founded the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade with 25 member countries. Since then, the Non-Aligned Movement has grown to close to 100 countries. Gaining strength from the storms of national liberation struggles sweeping the third world, it has played an important role in the struggle against imperialism. At the Fourth Summit Conference in Algiers, resolutions were passed to condemn the U.S. bombing of Kampuchea, and to demand the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied Arab territory and the restoration of the national rights of the Palestinian people. At the Fifth Summit Conference in Sri Lanka, the victory of the Vietnamese and Kampuchean-people over U.S. imperialism was celebrated while support was given to the liberation movements in Zimbabwe, Azania, and Namibia. On the economic front, the Non-Aligned Movement supported the right of third world countries to nationalize industries to stop imperialist robbery. While the main struggles in the past have been against U.S. imperialist aggression, today the struggle is increasingly being waged against both superpowers. At the Summit Conference held in Havana last year, Tito helped lead the fight to defeat Castro’s attempt to chain the Non-Aligned Movement to his Soviet masters. Yugoslavia also refused to support Cuba’s bid to gain a seat in the United Nations Security Council this year.

Back in December 1976, Brezhnev visited Yugoslavia to ask that the Soviet Mediterranean fleet be allowed to use Yugoslav ports for refitting and shore leaves. He also asked that Soviet military aircraft be allowed to fly over Yugoslav airspace in a direct route to the Middle East and northern and southern Africa, as well as having a Yugoslav officer be permanently stationed ’in the Warsaw Pact headquarters. Tito turned him down flat.

When China punished Vietnam for instigating border provocation last year, Tito refused to support Vietnam but instead blamed the conflict on the underhanded maneuvering of the Soviet Union. Again this year, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Tito was quick to condemn Soviet aggression and played a leading role in getting the third world countries to pass a resolution in the UN condemning the Soviets. There is no doubt about it, as a bourgeois nationalist who doesn’t have an ounce of communism in him, Tito acted out of his own self-interest, vacillating and fighting the two superpowers here and there so Yugoslavia wouldn’t get swallowed up. But he objectively played a progressive role and helped to lessen the danger of a new world war.

International Balance of Forces

Yugoslavia still carries on $1.3 billion in two-way trade with the U.S. and $2.76 billion in trade with the Soviet Union. But unlike the renegade Teng Xiaoping and Hua Kuo-feng of China who increasingly depend on the two superpowers as the motive force of history, Tito increasingly turned towards the second and third world to counter the superpowers effort to dump the crisis on Yugoslavia. Early last year, Tito went to four Middle Eastern countries including Kuwait and Iraq to get new sources of oil so Yugoslavia wouldn’t be subject to Soviet blackmail. Trade with European countries has increased to $5.1 million, more than Yugoslavia’s combined trade with both superpowers. While U.S. banks are reluctant about doing more business with Yugoslavia, the European Common Market signed a trade and tariff agreement in February that lowers tariff barriers as well as provides $150 million in low-interest loans to the country.

As the world-wide economic crisis deepens and the superpowers step up their preparation for war, this kind of cooperation between the second and third world will increase. At the same time, Iran, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Central America, the third world continue to rise up. Wave upon wave of national liberation struggles against the superpowers help to lessen the danger of world war. In these third world struggles, the superpowers have to deal with leaders like Khomeini of Iran and Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who refuse to play their imperialist political and economic games like Tito would.

This is the legacy that Tito left behind–a thorn in the side of the superpowers for starting the Non-Aligned Movement, yet preferable because, as the father of modern revisionism, he was willing to play.